Astros @ Braves, Game 5 Thread

A.J. Minter, Will Smith, Luke Jackson, and Tyler Matzek appear on an album cover entitled “NightShift.”

It’s elimination game…but for the stinkin’ ASStros. There’s a +105 ATL money line tonight so make sure, if you’re betting, get those bets in at betway.com, a Braves Journal sponsor through the playoffs.

Last night, Kyle Wright put the Braves on his back and pitched his heart out for 4 2/3 innings. And while there were a lot of baserunners (8 total), only 1 scored. Tonight, the Braves hand the ball of to another arm with tons of starting pitcher potential in Tucker Davidson. If you recall, Tucker was pitching really well, earning a slot in the rotation, and carried a 1.53 ERA heading into his 4 start of the season. Immediately, we knew there was something wrong and Tucker was removed after giving up 5 runs in 2 1/3 innings. Then, the words that Tucker and all Braves fans dread to here were spoken in the post press conference: left forearm strain.

The injury came right on the heels of the sticky substance ban and it was pretty much known that Tucker liked the sticky. Peter Moylan broke down Tucker’s injury and discussed “grip”. When using a combo of rosin and sunscreen, less force has to be applied to grip the ball to get the desired spin. When that option was removed, Moylan said that we were going to see a spike in forearm strains because gripping a baseball is all in the forearm. Well, he was right about Tucker Davidson.

Tucker didn’t pitch in the bigs again in the regular season, however he did throw 3 innings on October with the Stripers and had good results. My guess is, at the most, Tucker will be asked to throw 2 innings then we’ll see a carbon copy of what we saw last night.

Jorge Soler About as Excited as You’ll See Him

Braves Arriving at the Stadium

Yes, that’s Jorge Soler in a full body leopard suit.

Braves Lineup

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

183 thoughts on “Astros @ Braves, Game 5 Thread”

  1. Final MLB game played without a DH?

    @2 it was bonkers last night. Should be electric tonight.

    Go Braves!!!!!

  2. @4 I imagine it will be! Can’t wait. It’s been packed since NOON, about to head over there now.

  3. Glad to see Soler at the top of the lineup for Framber. I honestly think Joc is better as a PH.

  4. After years of hearing about the blasé Atlanta fanbase, what I’m hearing from you guys down there and from the Fox and MLB Network guys about the crowds and noise make me smile. That said, I look forward to ten more straight NL East Championships so that people can get blasé again.

    Whistlepig uncorked. The dice are shaking…. roll ’em.

    PS: I don’t know if anyone else mentioned this, but here’s Rosario channeling his inner Rufino Linares: “I feel right now I am Super Rosario. I don’t see the ball. I throw the glove and catch the ball. Everybody’s happy. I’m happy. It’s unbelievable what I did tonight. Wow, what a catch.”

  5. The Battery was like New Year’s Eve Times Square last night. I can only imagine the crowds tonight. Wife is there already and said it was completely packed. We only have one ticket so I’ll be watching along with the rest of the neighborhood while she gets to see it live. Me jealous? Maybe a little, lol. I don’t have any Whistlepig so Buffalo Trace will have to suffice. If we win, maybe the Pappy.

  6. On the cWPA front, Dansby’s (8.7%) and Jorge’s (8.1%) are now the two biggest at-bats of the season, passing Bellinger’s RBI single (7.7%) off Doval in Game 5 against the Giants.

    Think about that for a second. In five pitches, the Braves’ chances of winning the WS went up 16.8%.

  7. @8 – Where did you find Buffalo Trace? Liquor stores around Atlanta have been out for months! I do have a smidge left that I’ll polish off with you tonight, then it’ll be on to the Elijah Craig – which is at worst a lateral move despite the name sounding like a frat boy pants manufacturer.

    Honestly, I thought the atmosphere was a little tame last night, considering. I was there for game six against the Dodgers and it was ZOMGBONKERS no matter what was happening on the field. I was sitting down for full innings last night. Maybe because ‘clinch’ was in the air, last Saturday? In any case, I bet it’ll be ZOMGBONKERS squared tonight.

  8. @10 we live well north of the city so you can still find it in local shops. But yes it’s getting to be as hard to find as Weller.

    Agree that is was pretty tame last night, comparatively, but there wasn’t really much to get excited about honestly. 7th inning on it was pretty darn loud. I think a lot of us were holding our breath watching the pen do their thing.

  9. Why isn’t Timothy Miller singing at these games?

    Nvm – he is singing in the 7th inning stretch

  10. Did you all ever see video of Maddux dressed up as a camera man (in a wig and beard) throwing batting practice to Kris Bryant. He had no idea who he was at first. VERY funny.

  11. Great start. Glad the grounder somehow avoided Davidson’s leg & got to Albies. I smiled at the “young Tucker Davidson” reference. He’s older than Albies, Anderson, and Acuna, and that’s just the As. He is younger than Dylan Lee, though.

  12. DUVALL!!! YeeHah!!! Way to start. They did get to Framber early.

    Now I want to see them leave Tucker in for a while. Lengthen the leash. Let’s see what he can do to nail this down.

  13. I thought about commenting earlier today that only three Braves hitters had positive cWPAs for the series and Duvall was negative 5.69%. I expect that has changed now.

  14. This is only the second game of the series the Braves have scored more than three runs. Of course, the other was Game 1.

  15. I don’t think he’s being cute. He’s just not throwing strikes. I think the leash has been used. Time to get someone up in the pen. Chavez?

  16. I was hoping we wouldn’t have to go to the arm barn until the 4th or 5th but whatevs.

  17. Through the order one time. Have see a PH for Davidson. He used his leash up quickly. I was hoping Tucker might go through twice but I don’t see it now. We could still see Chavez, Minter, and Martin and be through 6. If we get that far with at least a 2-run lead, I’ll be satisfied.

  18. I’m thinking Davidson was not going to come up to bat no matter what in this game. He wasn’t going to shut them out so it’s just a damn good thing we got the slam on the board. Keep going, fellas. Just need 21 more outs.

    EDIT – Wow. I’m surprised but I don’t hate the move.

  19. Looks like Davidson is going to bat and pitch another inning. I would have pinch hit and gone to Chavez for a couple of innings.

  20. Wow. I didn’t ever imagine Snit would keep him in this long. Heck of a play by Correa, though.

  21. I hope Davidson is just hitting so we aren’t wasting a pinch hitter. No way we can send him back out there

  22. @64 yeah I don’t like this. It’s not like he was fooling everybody. The second time through could be worse

  23. Davidson can’t get his breaking ball over the plate. He’s done.

    First big mistake Snit has made by letting Tucker bat and start the 3rd.

  24. Oh, so now we take him out? He didn’t have it after the first inning. He barely got out of that one.

  25. Honestly, I wouldn’t have sent him out for the second. Letting him hit and sending him out for the third was perhaps the only Snitker decision this entire World Series with which I’ve wholly disagreed.

  26. The fact that he is still in is the worst decision Snit has made all post season. This is blowing up in his face at the moment. There is a good bet we are losing at the end of this inning

  27. The idea of starting two rookie lefties against this team was really, really stupid. This one was compounded by sending him out AGAIN when he had nothing last inning. He barely got the pitcher out.

  28. Good thing we got that slam. Got to hit the spots. Walks will kill you.

    EDIT – And Chavez isn’t hitting them either.

  29. These are the things Snit does that cost us games. The last thing you do is walk hitters on a team struggling. Staying with a lollipop throwing lefty that can’t throw strikes was inexcusable.

  30. @80 Well, I guess he’s saying that we should have added a righty instead of a lefty. Which I think is true but not that critical.

    I was afraid that if we didn’t get through 5 or 6 with a lead then this could turn into a 10-9 game which we might not come out on the good side of. Already this is the first game with both sides scoring more than 2 runs each.

    And we sure let Framber off the hook.

    I sure think Chavez might have been ok starting the inning clean.

  31. This is how losing Morton really hurts. He would have started this game and likely nailed it down. But we go with what we got.

  32. We are in big trouble here. Now the nibbling of Chavez isn’t working. This stupidity made this game a dog fight when there was no reason to do so

  33. Still in it. Sucks that we gave it back so quickly, but I feel that the bats have more runs in them tonight.

  34. Dansby creating a redemption arc storyline here, just to make the ending that much better. I hope.

  35. Geez, a little perspective is in order. We are up 3 games to 1 and now tied in the third inning.
    Once Morton was injured, this game was always going to be the most difficult game of the series. Duvall got us off to a good start tonight but it was almost certainly going to take a good many more than four runs to win this game. Now it’s on the offense to get in gear and our score them.

  36. @90 Both runs in the 3rd were unearned. Altuve wouldn’t have scored if he wasn’t on base and the ground out would not have scored a run if it was the third out. I agree with @86 that the error was very poorly timed and the main reason we gave back that lead.

  37. About damn time Freddie did something. Whew.

    We really need something from both Freddie and Ozzie tonight. Ozzie has been miserable.

  38. Have to agree with @92 here. The bats need to get going all at once this time. We aren’t going to win this series on pitching alone. Not with 2 bullpen games required.

  39. I was at the 2018 playoff game against the Dodgers when Ronald hit the grand slam. That gave the Braves a four run lead. But the Dodgers chipped away and tied it. But then Freddie hit a go ahead home run and the Braves held on to win. I’d take that result, but as I said I think we will see a lot more scoring in this one.

  40. Smoltz just called it – “in swing mode.” Patience fellas. Who knows what would or could have happened, but Duvall swung and fouled off ball 4 before he hit the high fly ball for an out in that at bat.

  41. AA is in charge of the roster and Snit the lineup, but I’m fairly certain they discuss stuff like this and build some sort of consensus.

  42. Welcome to these umps, Altuve. Get pissed but we’ve been watching that the entire series!

    And I am utterly flummoxed at what is going on in Snit’s head regarding these pitchers tonight. I would not have brought Chavez back out. But sure, now change it up in the middle of the inning after giving up a hit to a pinch hit pitcher. Maybe he’s just a misunderstood genius. I’m not seeing it, but…

  43. So now we go to Minter with the pitcher spot due up this inning? I guess with the lead we can afford to do this?

  44. @101 Snit doesn’t have that kind of power. Lee and Davidson both had to pitch in this series, given how things went down in the previous one. I’d have preferred at least one righty. To be fair, none of the other options are good either, so it’s picking nits.

  45. Hmm…I thought we could see the Night Shift starting in the 5th, but with 2 out in the 4th is earlier than even I expected. Pitcher’s spot is due up next inning too – I guess (well, I hope) this means Minter hits for himself.

  46. Chavez did OK for 1 2/3. If he had gotten Greinke he’d have gone the full two. If Minter can go 1 1/3 then we’re set up. I guess that would mean Minter will have to hit. If they PH for Minter then Matzek might have to go two.

  47. If nothing else, Baker is blowing up his pitching staff. Should we have to go back to Houston, that bodes well for us. Of course, I’d just as soon win it here. So bear down, fellas!

  48. Unbelievable! Throws strikes! Especially if they are crowding the plate like that. Hit the damn spot!

    And now we’re behind. Christ!!

  49. Sigh…… Just needed one good inning. I have not included Minter in the Night Shift since he has been pitching earlier in the game. It was inevitable that a lefty or two would eventually sink us. It’s not over yet and I still expect something like 10-9. But I am not sure we end up on the good end of that score.

    But this is the pitching order I certainly expected and I’m sure everyone did. They just didn’t execute. Even if Martin gets out of this, we’ll need him again for the 6th. If the Braves are still behind after the 6th, I think we should expect to see Smyly.

  50. AJ was psyched out on that AB by Maldonado. He knew he wasn’t going to swing and just couldn’t throw a strike. And the hit by Gonzalez was a weak bloop but them’s the breaks.

  51. 123 I also hated the walk. Minter can be wild. Let him go at Bergman who is lost up there. Now Bergman has scored and you let him on for free. Of course I would literally never intentionally walk anyone ever.

  52. What was wrong with putting Touki on roster when Morton got hurt .. he had starting experience or Muller …. not understanding the choices .. Smiley ????

  53. I cannot get mad at Minter but walking that guy standing on the plate….ugh.

    I really dislike the little cheater Altuve.

    Time for the bats to go back to work.

  54. It’s just too early in the game for intentional walks. Oh well. I think we’re going to have to score 12+ runs in one of these final 3 games if we want to win the series. They’ve seen all our lefties and you can’t expect the Night Shift to be perfect. The offense is gonna have to win a game.

  55. As a general rule I don’t like the IBB but I was ok at the time when they chose to walk Bregman to get to Maldonado, on the theory that Maldonado was overwhelmingly less likely to get a hit than Bregman. The problem of course is the risk of the walk with the bases loaded. With old AJ I would have been very concerned about that, but I thought this new edition of AJ could handle that. I was wrong about that.

  56. @136 – I agree entirely. And I’m not confident about that when it took all of 6 pitches to get 2 outs this last half inning before Riley got his hit.

  57. Was really hoping we would score in the 5th or 6th because I wasn’t sure if we would use Jackson and Matzek with a 2 run deficit. Hoping for some Halloween magic (the good kind).

  58. Watched the ’92 NLCS last half inning earlier today…killin’ time before the game. I bet some of you did too.

    Talk about your hopeless games. Man, it was worse than I remembered watching it as a kid 30 years ago. Drabek had it on lock down. Can’t recall the pitch count; but probably should’ve stayed in in the 9th. Back when starters went more than 5 innings in the playoffs.

    Hoping tonight – – with even more on the line – – the Braves can find some mojo like that once again. And I’d welcome them finding it long before the 9th! ;-)

    Let’s go boys!

  59. Hopefully the last time we see Smyly in a Braves uniform ever again. I don’t want him anywhere near the mound in Houston

  60. I don’t understand bringing in Smyly. There’s an off day tomorrow and the deficit was only two.

  61. With 2 bullpen games against a great hitting team You would kinda expect them to light you up at least one of those.

  62. Smyly is a concession for sure. If the Braves don’t score at least three this inning, I expect Smyly for the 8th and Lee for the 9th.

    I’m still not giving up on my 10-9 prediction.

    I am not hopeful for Varsity tomorrow. I’m telling you, the Astros are rocking ALL lefties. So far Matzek and Smith have been amazingly immune but no one else. The Braves have really hit only one pitcher – Framber. They have not been terribly successful against anyone else.

  63. Nice note by Buck. The only other team to overcome a 4 run deficit in an elimination game was the 1919 Black Sox. Apropos, eh?

  64. Ozzie swings and misses at a clear ball. Then doesn’t swing at a strike. All of 3 pitches to get him out. Dude…get it together.

  65. One day I’d really like to know what had AA so enamored with Smyly. They signed him like the day after the WS last year. Dude has been rough all year.

  66. You know, when Martin Maldonado gets an RBI in three consecutive at bats it’s just not your night.

  67. @151–in Max I trust. The Braves will have a clear advantage in the starting pitcher in game six. Plus the top three guys in the pen will be rested.

  68. I hate to be negative but yeah…tonight ain’t the night. We got a split in Houston. Needed 2 of 3 here and got it. Now we just need 1 of 2. Me? My dog and I are going to watch Hell Night. It IS Halloween after all.

  69. I hope conceding this game winds up being worth it. With an off-day tomorrow, I can’t imagine how it will be.

    Oh goody, a return of the tired “Astros destroy all lefties and we’re doomed” thing that there really hasn’t been a whole lot of evidence of. Hot take: Max will shut them down and give us a chance to win Tuesday if we can score a few runs. Or you can continue thinking this team is the boogeyman, if you prefer…I guess it’s your choice.

    @160: We have a clear advantage in pitching the rest of the series period.

  70. With Morton out, if you were offered a Game 7 before the series started, you’d likely take it.

    Edit: 10-9 is still possible though…

  71. @163

    I certainly would’ve taken a chance to go back to Houston up 3-2. Hell, I’d have taken that barely 24 hours ago.

  72. Darn, I just tuned in to see if I could catch the celebration…. too bad, but no one expected those cheating A-holes to go down easily.

    Time for Fried to redeem himself after some very disappointing starts. And the offense has to wake up and not go into hibernation, like what happened today.

  73. @162 Really? No evidence? This whole series has been evidence. Check out the ERAs of the Braves pitchers. Like I said, only Matzek and Smith have survived. ALL of the Braves’ RH pitchers have done very well including Jackson and Martin. Even tonight. Look who gave up all the runs – Davidson, Minter, Smyly. And Fried was no more effective than any of the others in game 2.

    Maybe Fried can pull it off. I certainly hope so. But I am not confident.

  74. If you get to ignore Matzek and Smith’s success, I get to ignore the fact that they’re bashing lefties who suck. Minter is the only middle ground, and the results are mixed. We’ll see how Fried does on Tuesday. It’s not the fact that he’s left-handed, it was his game plan in Game 2 IMO.

  75. I don’t know if I’ll have the cojones to watch them piss this away in Houston. This is more stress and frustration than it’s worth.

  76. All of my expectations have been vastly exceeded already. I’m not gonna get bent out of shape about losing. It’s a miracle we’re up in this series.

  77. To finish up our cordial disagreement, Roger, since it originally started with you wanting to de-emphasize Matzek and Smith, I’m pretty content with where we are on this now. I agree we don’t want our lesser lefties anywhere near them.

  78. They had a chance to go for the jugular after the Duvall slam and Snit decided to play for Game 6 instead. Unreal.

  79. @168 Ah, yes, they are bashing lefties that suck. But they are not bashing righties that suck. Although if you define “suck” as “how the Astros have hit them” then your argument makes a bit more sense. If the Braves had chosen to roster fewer “lefties that suck” and include more “righties that suck” (like Strider or Webb or even Touki) then we may have won this by now.

    I am still hopeful that Fried can come up with a better game plan. But I am not confident. I’m putting my eggs into the Anderson basket in game 7.

  80. For clarification, lefties that don’t suck: Fried, Matzek, Smith, Minter. Righties that don’t suck: Jackson, Anderson, Wright if he’s gonna pitch like that again (???). And yes, I’m using “suck” a bit broadly here.

  81. Would it be too obvious to DL Smyly and Davidson with ruptured success glands and call up Touki and Strider?

  82. What Smyly did against LA remains deeply hilarious. How it’s possible that team is so bad at hitting lefties, I’ll never know.

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